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 Old James Larrabee posts to the "Sede List" 1997 
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>From Wed May 21 22:30:58 1997
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From James Larrabee:

It has been said at various times in these discussions that the
theologians have nothing to say about how to deal with a
"Pope-heretic." This has somehow been taken as self-evidently
true by some, even though no proof has been offered for it. It's
clear that if their opponents didn't go into this question, it's
simply because that is not the question being addressed. As
always, when one has a weak position, it's always expedient to
change the subject, but while this may impress some, it proves
nothing except that one's case is weak.

In reality, there is no mystery here, and similar situations
have arisen in Church history. That of Liberius has been
addressed here and elsewhere. (The Roman clergy simply rejected
him and elected another.) Another instance is the councils which
dealt with the Great Western Schism, without regard to the
authority of the Popes or "Popes" then reigning. A heretic
"pope" would be dealt with like any other heretic; he would be
arrested on orders of the Cardinals and tried by the Holy Office
or by a council of bishops. If the orthodox cardinals didn't
have the physical means to control him, it would be lawful to
call in any Catholic power willing to do the job. In the case of
John XXII, I mentioned that the King of France threatened to do
just this if he did not retract his teaching.

The only question they discuss is HOW to explain the right of
the Church to depose a Pope when he is the highest authority.
Bellarmine's answer is the only logical one and is obvious - a
man who is an open heretic is no longer Pope, and a condemnation
issued against him is not a judgment against the Pope but merely
a declaration that such a man is not the Pope.

It isn't absolutely necessary to physically remove Wojtyla from
wherever he is, any more than Liberius was physically removed.
If it isn't possible, God doesn't require the impossible. (An
antipope, Anacletus II, in the 12th century governed at Rome for
8 years until his death - military efforts to overthrow him
failed, but so what? The Church went on.) What is required is
that the situation be recognized by those responsible and a new
Pope elected. And who is responsible? The Roman clergy, by
divine right. As neither you nor I are cardinals, we have no
right and no obligation to do ANYTHING except pray, though we
have a perfect right as Catholics to petition those responsible
to do their duty, but where can we find any? And if there are no
lawful cardinals now, because all those appointed by Pius XII are
dead, the duty devolves on the Roman clergy at large, or arguably
on a general council in Cajetan's view. Whatever, this is hardly
new theologically speaking. Men with a parti pris can only
impress those whose ignorance of Church history and theology is
minimal to non-existent, and who perhaps wish to be impressed.
If there are still some old pastors at Rome, retired or not, from
before 1959 (and who are you or anyone to say there aren't), it
seems to me they can go ahead and elect a Pope. (I just happened
to see last night, in Addis and Arnold's classic Catholic
dictionary, that Cajetan thought that, in the event of the death
of all the Cardinals, the canons of St. John Lateran could elect
the Pope; showing that even this contingency has been treated by
theologians.) I leave this to God and to Catholic canonists, and
my confidence that this situation will be worked out in an
entirely Catholic manner is unshaken, because it's part of the
indefectibility of the Church. IN NO WAY can that
indefectibility be verified in those who have spectacularly
defected - Montini, Wojtyla, and their whole crew.

I further don't rule out the possibility of Wojtyla or his
successor repenting (by an extraordinary grace, but only an
extraordinary grace will put an end to this crisis in some way),
turning back to the true exercise of the papacy (thus in reality
accepting it, as they have never done), and becoming Pope by
acclamation of the Roman clergy, people, and of the whole Church
(a la Cajetan in the last case, though his approach seems to me
to smack of Gallicanism). Acclamation is a legitimate and
traditional method of electing a Pope.

The argument "what are you going to do about it" is absurd to a
Catholic, since everyone knows that laymen, as we are, have no
public authority in the Church. If our opponents are trying to
show us up by claiming that it somehow follows from our argument
that the Church has failed, we'll refer them to the many times
the opponents of Christ have made the same claim in the past.
They're all dead; the Church lives and will live, in whatever
manner its Divine Head chooses (perfectly in conformity, be it
understood, with the very Apostolic Doctrine and Traditions He
Himself has laid down). We, unlike our opponents, don't claim to
know exactly how He intends to do this in the present crisis.
Now that an answer to this objection, though irrelevant, has been
offered, I would ask the cavilers (as it seems to me, one who
makes irrelevant objections based on false and unproved
assertions, is a caviler), are you going to address the question
in chief: Is St. Robert Bellarmine, a Doctor of the Church, and
the majority of theologians and canonists who follow him, wrong,
and you are right? More important, IS OR IS NOT THE CHURCH ONE IN
FAITH and can it not be discerned from every false religion by
SEEN IN THE CHURCH OF WOJTYLA? Answer this, or acknowledge that
you are not arguing as Catholics.


JLarrabee (

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>From James Larrabee responding to a post on the TradCath List:

Gary wrote:

>I have questions (for anyone) which are not meant to be
adversarial or
>provocative. What is the "mission", if you will, of the

Let me put it this way. At present, there are basically two
types of "Catholics": those who are happy with the "changes" and
those who are not. Of the latter group, some if not most have
joined some sort of resistance "movement" at least in their
minds. The first group is not Catholic, and I have no concern
with them, though I hope and pray for their conversion to the
Truth as I do for all unbelievers. They are not members of the
Church, and they are not interested in what I or
"traditionalists" have to say. It would take a far greater than
I to convert them. My "mission" is to those who are unhappy with
the "changes" but have not found the way out from conciliar
heresy and schism. I am convinced that on a better understanding
of Catholic teaching, given to us by Our Divine Redeemer for our
comfort as well as for our salvation (and every single syllable
of it was bought and paid for by His Most Precious Blood), they
will see the need, regardless of the "Pope" question, of totally
rejecting the "changes." They will understand the falsity of the
position of so many compromisers who, while not accepting the
heresies of Vatican II openly, are in the position of the
Semi-Arians of the 4th century, of the Jansenists, of other
groups who have diluted the pure truth of Christ to gain a
following, or out of human respect, or because they have been
partly deceived by heretics.

Therefore, as I have said, my "mission" (I can't and don't wish
to speak for others) is not per se to prove that the conciliar
Popes are invalid, but to convey the absolute necessity of
believing the doctrine of the unity of the Church, as well as the
sacrosanct character of all Tradition, both doctrinal,
liturgical, and disciplinary. The invalidity of the "popes" is a
conclusion depending on the heretical nature of their teachings.
Those who adhere to their teachings obviously will never agree to
this. There is no point discussing this with them at all, when
there is no antecedent agreement on matters of Faith. For those
who do see the heresy, to a greater or lesser extent, the "pope
question" may be necessary, and is likely to be helpful, as
clearing out an obstacle to the full truth, particularly the
obstacle of confusing a heretical sect with the True Church. If
this is confused, the mind is deprived of clear ideas about
doctrine. The necessary result is that all the doctrines
rejected in the Novus Ordo "church" are reduced, in the minds of
otherwise would-be orthodox people, to matters of opinion. This
is actually the position of certain well-known "traditional"
priests (in communion with the Novus Ordo hierarchy). Their
whole position is founded on accepting, a priori, conciliar
"popes" as legitimate and the Vatican Council as a legitimate
council. Their great danger is precisely the appearance, and
their claim, of 100% orthodoxy, enabling them to keep people in
the conciliar slaughterhouse.

There are so many important Catholic principles which have been
lost sight of today. One could clean the Augean stables before
succeeding in restoring these to men's minds. But one of the
most important, and neglected even by traditional priests, is
that of St. Augustine: In necessary things unity, in doubtful
things liberty, in all things charity. (Frequently fractured by
heretics to "in unessential things" as though any matter of
doctrine could be unessential). There need be no division
between Catholics over controverted matters when they are
DIFFICULT, OBSCURE, not clear from past teaching or requiring
proof of facts not evident to us, and of course, not yet decided
by Catholic authority (Pope or general council). Such, it seems
to me, is the question of the legitimacy of the "popes" since
1958. Such is NOT the clear teaching of the Church (whether or
not solemnly defined) which has been overthrown in countless ways
by and since the Council. In these things, there can be no
disagreement. Those who are with us on this are with the Church;
those who are not, are not Catholics. If some of the matters are
difficult, many, if not most, are not.

> Is it >to resist the post-conciliar changes along with the
exposition of
>conciliar Popes as heretics who had no authority? Do you feel
that it is
>absolutely necessary to establish that the chair of Peter is

First the heretical nature of the "changes" must be shown. If
and only if this is accepted, if and only if the doctrine of the
unity of the Church is accepted and heretics are excluded as
members of the Church, is there any point to pursuing the Pope
question. The sense in which I consider this latter discussion
necessary has been presented above.

>Theoretically speaking, how would anyone accepting your position
>the way he lives out his faith?

In many ways: by rejecting both in theory and practice, as
heretical, the Novus Ordo and all the new "sacraments"; by
refusing to give any credence or respect to the conciliar
hierarchy; by rejecting Vatican II as of the Antichrist; by
avoiding all the institutions of the conciliar communion, such as
churches and schools; by warning others against it; by
considering that Catholics are still bound by all the laws, such
as fasting, marriage laws, etc. in effect during the reign of
Pius XII (thus one would not fast, for example, simply out of
devotion, a perfectly fine thing, but also out of strict
obligation); by contributing only to uncompromising traditional
priests, such as the MICM, the SSPV, and others, certainly not to
exclude those I happen to be unfamiliar with); by studying the
Faith only out of approved books published before the Council
(preferably LONG before), and those written by the more competent
traditional writers of the present; etc. etc. I'm sure the list
could easily be extended, depending on your position in life.
For example, if one is called to the priesthood or religious
life, only to pursue it in a wholly traditional institute or

> Even though you are convinced that your premise is accurate,
what if
>you are wrong? What are the consequences
>for you? If I am wrong in accepting John Paul II as a legitimate
>are the ramifications for me?

Good thing you see this is a question incumbent on yourself as
well as us. Remember, a Catholic cannot even be certain (that
is, absolutely certain) of his own salvation nor that he is in
the state of grace (without a special revelation), as defined by
the Holy Council of Trent. Thus the call, in another message,
for absolutely certain proofs of this is inappropriate. The only
certitude we can have, or need, in many matters is a moral one.
It does not exclude ALL possibility of error, but all excludes
REASONABLE doubt. We can and must do our best. God will guide
us in matters necessary to our salvation if we do our part. This
does not mean that all our opinions will be infallible by any
means, but we may hope that God will excuse our errors, if we
cling with all our powers of mind and heart to His Holy Faith.
On the other hand, the certainty of Faith is absolute, when the
teaching of the Church is evident, and this is a main difference
between Catholics and Protestants. The latter hold the truths of
the Faith which they do hold, merely as opinions, on which they
may and do vacillate. It seems to me that we are in the same
position, or rather a much stronger one, than St. Thomas More,
when he said quite truly, that against the opinions of the
bishops and the Parliament, he had the opinions of all the
councils and the saints for a thousand years. That was enough
for him to die for. On the Pope issue, I do not claim my
conclusion has the certitude of Faith, and since I haven't been
called on to die for it, I don't know whether I would (though
neither could I affirm anything as true which appeared false to
me, merely under a threat of violence). But for the doctrinal
questions involved - religious liberty, ecumenism, the Novus
Ordo, and so on - it is otherwise. These are clear matters of
the Faith, of the previous teaching of all Popes and theologians.
I pray for the grace to die for this Faith if needed. Every
Catholic by the grace of his Baptism and Confirmation must do the
same. THIS is the point I wish to go on emphasizing.

JLarrabee (

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Dear List members,
The following is Mr Larrabee's response. I'll be posting some
more on this thread, so assume they came from Tradcath unless
otherwise stated:

As Fr. X's message merely consists of unproved
statements, or repeats arguments already refuted by St. Robert
Bellarmine in the texts previously posted, this adds nothing at
all to the debate. Once again, our position stands unrefuted.
Repetition is not proof. As Fr. X flatly contradicts a
Doctor of the Church and the common teaching of theologians
approved by the Roman Pontiffs, we have a right to ask, WHERE IS
HIS TEACHING FROM? Unless one wishes to present him as a Doctor
of the Church superior to all the authorities appealed to against
him, it's clear where the truth lies in this discussion. To
repeat again the simple point of St. Robert's argument, accepted
by Popes (in their general approval of his teaching) and by the
consensus of theologians and canonists in considering this
question: The Pope CAN AND MUST BE JUDGED when he becomes a
heretic. The sense in which he is judged is explained by St.
Robert and the canonists. Perhaps Fr. X ought to tell us
why the SSPX frequently quotes another text of Bellarmine, in
order to give the opposite impression of his true position, while
always concealing from their followers the relevant text which I
have published? Is this proof of good faith or bad? If what Fr.
X says is true, how did the Church ever judge and condemn
any heretic? How indeed does any court judge and condemn any
crime? For it is a principle both of canon and civil law that a
crime is not committed when intention is lacking. His
"jurisprudence" is pure liberalism. It would overturn all law
and public justice. What Fr. X implicitly denies is the
equally fundamental principle, which is explicitly stated in the
Code of Canon Law: Anyone who posits a criminal act is PRESUMED
TO HAVE A GUILTY INTENT unless it is proved otherwise by certain
evidence (canon 2200:2). Without this, what is the difference
between us and Freud or Darwin? What a pity to see such
uncatholic ideas spread publicly by a priest! What would Fr.
X have done, if he had been at Constantinople when the
people rejected the authority of Nestorius, when he began
preaching heresy? What does he say to the Pope who affirmed that
Nestorius's excommunications of these people, who did not wait
for canonical admonitions (from whom? the Pope?), still less a
papal condemnation, were invalid? who affirmed that those deposed
by Nestorius from church offices were not, in fact, deposed at
all? According to him, these people did wrong; then the Pope who
fully approved of them must have been wrong too. Is this
traditionalism or "traditionalism"? I'd suggest he read
Bellarmine's treatment of this question before publishing his

I mention this only for the benefit of those who might be misled
by Fr. X's arguments, not because I expect him to join in
a fair and open debate. If he wishes to do so, rather than
simply issuing private bulls, excellent. I certainly hope Scott
will convey this message to him and any others along the same


James Larrabee (

>From Thu Jun 26 10:19:49 1997
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More from Jim Larrabee:

Fr. X wrote:


>If you ask the average Catholic if he believes in the 2
>processions in God he will say "NO, I believe in the 3 persons
not 2

Excuse me, but this is absurd. An average Catholic would say,
"What are the 2 processions?" Why would he, or anyone, think
there is any contradiction between 3 persons and 2 processions?
Why would he, or anyone, deny something he has never heard of?
Any Catholic realizes there is much Church teaching he is not
aware of. Does that mean he denies it? Theologians all teach
that he believes it implicitly, because he explicitly affirms his
faith in ALL the teachings of the Church, whether he knows them
or not (which is impossible). This is the straw man approach.

> If you don't believe in the 2 processions, however, (the first
>being the procession whereby the Son proceeds from the Father,
>the second is the procession whereby the Holy Ghost proceeds
from the
>Father and the Son - the "filioque"), you are a material
heretic. Is
>the 7 year old who doesn't explicitly believe

Now he shows he is perfectly aware of the distinction between
explicit and implicit faith, in his use of the word "explicitly."
Is this any way to argue? He has shifted from a man who is
supposed as saying "I don't believe in 2 processions" to a child
who is not being supposed to say this, but merely, and obviously,
hasn't learned about it. How can you equate the two? The
relevant case is that of a person, of whatever age, who, AFTER
processions, "I don't believe that." Material heresy is not the
question at all. It is a question of whether one can infer an
intention from a reasonable consideration of the words and
actions of another. If Wojtyla denied the two processions, or if
Fr. X denied them, could one reasonably claim that either
of them is unaware that this is a doctrine of the Church? The
only REASONABLE conclusion is that they would be heretics; formal
heretics, since a "material" heretic is not a heretic at all.
The term is almost senseless, and eminent theologians have
objected to it. Of course, Fr. X in this regard is saying
essentially the same. The inference would become a moral
certainty if the individual persisted in the face of
expostulations from ANYBODY. No one needs high rank simply to
speak the truth, with or without proofs.


> One is not considered canonically a heretic, e.g. an
>priest, until that person refuses submission to a canonical
>that his beliefs are against the Faith.

This is a gratuitous assertion and is contrary to the teaching of
St. Robert Bellarmine, the Fathers of the Church, and the common
teaching of canonists and theologians. All tradition is against
it. So is Sacred Scripture. Where is the proof?

Such warnings may be the necessary preliminary to imposing
canonical sanctions, but sanctions are not the issue here, as
Bellarmine has made clear.

> Canonical warnings must come from superiors, not inferiors.
>Bishop gives warning to a pastor, not the other way around.
>Bob" can't issue a canonical warning to "Bishop X" that he's a
>formal heretic and therefore no longer in charge. The lower
>judge the higher.

I notice Pope John XXII didn't say this when accused of heresy
(as he was indeed, MATERIALLY, "guilty"). Instead, he moved to
investigate the matter, as in any doctrinal controversy, by means
of the Cardinals and theologians. This showed he was not
pertinacious in error. Montini and Wojtyla, by acting otherwise,
prove their pertinacity. They have completely ignored all
attacks on their orthodoxy. (Incidentally, why do they need you
to testify to their "sincerity" in error? Don't they have
tongues? Talk about the "church of silence") How come past popes
didn't act in accordance with your principles?

> "Prima Sedes a nemine judicatur" is a principle of Canon Law.
>"The Holy See is judged by no one." It is a heresy to believe
>the pope can be judged in his person by any authority on earth.
>Christ is the only authority over the pope.

Certainly. But a heretic is not the Pope, even if he was
(unlikely in the case of Montini and Wojtyla). Therefore to
judge him is not to judge the Pope. Don't bother arguing it with
me. Argue it with Bellarmine and with all the canonists. Name
ONE SINGLE THEOLOGIAN of any eminence who agrees with you.
Cajetan, in this particular, certainly does not.

Christ is the only authority over the pope? Then why do you say
further on that a pope can be judged by another pope? For that
matter, why did an ecumenical council condemn Pope Honorius
(after his death), with the full concurrence and approval of the
popes of the time and after? Is a council higher than a pope?
Isn't it evident they didn't buy your argument? And exactly when
was Honorius given his two canonical warnings, and by whom?

And what about the principles of canon law you disregard? Such
as: an office is deemed by the law itself, AND WITHOUT ANY
DECLARATION, to be resigned when one defects publicly from the
Faith (188:4); and, offenders are presumed, in the public forum,
to be acting culpably, UNLESS THE CONTRARY IS PROVED (2200:2).


>Another point, JPII does not in any of his writings
>explicitly fulfill the conditions required for one to be
>by Church law as a formal heretic. He nowhere says on any
matter of
>Defined Doctrine "The Catholic Church teaches this but I teach
>the Church is and was wrong."

No canonist or theologian has ever stated this requirement even
for a public judgment of heresy, much less a private one, which
is what we are debating. Probably no heretic, condemned as such
by the Church, has ever said such a thing. (Well, perhaps some
of the Modernists have gone this far, but then they haven't been
condemned yet, by the Pope personally. Are they not heretics, in
Fr. X's eyes, until this happens?)

This is absurd. It is on a par with saying that no one could be
condemned of murder unless he said (in a notarized statement,
perhaps?), "I know Joe Blow was an innocent man and I killed him
deliberately and without provocation, and I knew this constituted
murder so I am a murderer."

>A Material heretic does not per se lose his authority. The
>worst one could attempt to prove about JPII is that he may be a
>Material heretic. NO Dice.

Well, no dice to this flat denial of the teaching of Fathers and
Doctors of the Church. Why should we believe you? Even the
Fathers and Doctors give proof for their assertions; you don't
bother. Bellarmine plainly states that men can and must be
judged by their actions, since that is all that can be known to
us. You seem to suggest a spiritual church, governed by Christ
in person, rather than through men exercising only their natural
powers, apart from the power of the sacraments. Technically you
are right; but in the present situation, we are dealing with men
who were perfectly familiar with the teaching of the past popes.
They just didn't believe it, which is why they rejected it at the
council. Or perhaps they were given their Roman doctorates in
error? The burden of proof is on you, in accordance with the
canon I cited above (2200:2).

If Montini and Wojtyla share your concern for orthodoxy, why do
they ignore all appeals to investigate the doctrines set at
nought by the council? This is the definition of pertinacity.
Just as they ignore all appeals from Catholics being persecuted
by the heretics they themselves have placed in "office." This
argument is nothing but posturing.

>A Material heretic is one who unwillingly and unknowingly
>denies a dogma of Faith. A Formal heretic is one who both
>knowingly and willingly {for clerics they must also teach
>ecclesiastical authority}

So now it is harder for a cleric to be a heretic than a poor
layman? What is the basis for this strange assertion, which
hardly appears consistent with the rest of the argument?

> consciously denies a dogma of Faith. NO SEDE VACANTIST CAN

You cannot when you hear confessions, yet you still judge. What
is the point of this? Who has ever required ANY judge to read
souls? What judge, up to and including the Pope himself, HAS EVER
Father, for suggesting such a strange distortion of Catholic
teaching as that the Church must be governed by divine


JLarrabee (

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>From Mon Oct 13 21:35:31 1997
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 21:35:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: <>
Subject: #1259 Jim Larrabee on The Cassiciacum Thesis
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 97 10:31:40 -0800
From: Jim Larrabee <>
Subject: Re: #1253 The Cassiciacum Thesis

This is only my understanding on a couple of the points you
raise, and as I've been unable to get much on this (i.e.
complete past issues of the "Cahiers de Cassiciacum" of Guerard
des Lauriers, I'm going on what I've been able to piece together
from what I've seen and from comments by one or two of the
supporters of this theory (which I don't hold). So what I say is
all subject to correction.


JLarrabee (

______________________________ Reply Separator
Subject: #1253 The Cassiciacum Thesis
Author: <> at Boalt
Date: 10/13/97 8:36 AM

Date: Sun, 12 Oct 1997 17:26:21 -0700
From: Bob Hess <>
Subject: Msgr. Guerard des Lauriers and his Cassiciacum Thesis

Concerning Bishop des Lauriers and his Cassiciacum Thesis, I have
a few

1. Does anyone have it noted when he proposed the theory? Mostly
interested in the year he began to teach it.

>>>Don't know, but probably some time in the 70s.

2. When the Bishop says the V2 false popes were/are "materially
the pope," is he saying that they fill the seat of St. Peter by
election so they are there, obviously; but formally, by their
heresies they are not formally true Popes?

>>>Yes. What's unique, or what I would say novel and wrong,
about the thesis is that it postulates that being "materially"
the Pope confers some power of administration over the Church,
such as appointing bishops and cardinals. This seems to be an
extension of Cajetan's theory, disproved by Bellarmine, that a
Pope who falls into schism or heresy must be formally removed
from office by a juridical procedure; until that time he
continues to hold office.

3. How does this theory square with the Papal Bulla of 1559, Cum
ex Apostolatus? (It states that if various prelates - including
the Pontiff - had before their election deviated from the
Catholic faith into some heresy, their elevation is invalid and

>>>I'm not sure this theory deals with the case of a man who was
already a heretic before election- just another of its
deficiencies. Possibly they consider this bull a matter of
ecclesiastical law and no longer effective (if ever), etc.
Unfortunately, the canonical side of the question doesn't seem to
have been treated by Des Lauriers in any depth and his followers
seem to have followed him in this. In the same way, they seem to
disregard canon 188:4, which is derived from the bull you
mention, which in turn of course only stated what has always been
the tradition of the Church, as Bellarmine proves.

With John 23 through John Paul 2 credited with various heresies,
WHY even appear to give them credit as being "materially the

>>>This puzzled me as well. The answer I got from one well-known
propounder of the thesis was that they see it as the only
possible way of providing for the continuity of the Church as an
institution, in the present crisis. I proposed (in a
face-to-face discussion) alternative possibilities, but this did
not seem to change the position, even though no refutations were
offered to my arguments. In addition, there was a flat denial of
Bellarmine's historical proof that the jurisdiction of Nestorius
was not recognized by the Pope after he began preaching heresy,
as proved by Bellarmine (no canonical deposition was involved).
In all, Bellarmine seems to be entirely ignored by the
Cassiciacum party. To my knowledge, they haven't even dealt
seriously with his arguments.

This could confuse some in our chapels who don't read on these
matters. (See, it's confused me!) It seems to be a deception of
sorts, a courting of the moderates (SSPX, The Remnant, the
Wanderer types), trying to give the false pope some status of
being a pontiff. Why not just call a spade a spade and say he is
a false pope.

>>>I agree, but I don't think these men can be described as
compromisers--far from it. They have been as intransigent as
anyone in the traditional "movement," perhaps more so. It seems
to me it is entirely an intellectual problem, stemming from the
inexplicable (to me) respect for Cajetan, and the resulting
ignorance of sounder theological currents, among even the best
Dominicans. It is a weakness of the ecclesiology of the 20th
century resulting from failing to follow in the footsteps of the
outstanding Roman theologians of the 19th century, particularly
Franzelin. Even Garrigou-Lagrange had some markedly liberal
opinions. Why? Who knows? Original sin? God's judgment on an
apostate mankind? Failure in sanctity? (But who was holier than
Guerard?) The political weakness of the Church's rulers since the
French Revolution? Anyway, it's a fact. There were seriously
decadent tendencies in the theology of the 14th century as well,
an age, like ours, destitute of great Doctors. When I mentioned
Franzelin to the above-mentioned individual, he responded with
considerable sarcasm. Being a Jesuit seemed to be a serious
objection to him. Odd, in view of the fact that two of the
half-dozen or so Doctors since the Reformation are Jesuits.
There hasn't been a single Dominican since the 13th century,
unless I am mistaken. And it goes without saying that Cajetan
was questionable precisely because he departed from the opinions
of the great Dominican Doctors on various points. (He even
thought that unbaptized children could be saved by the faith of
their parents, as though we were still in Old Testament times. A
Judaizing opinion?) Anyway, I ramble.

(Some use "anti-pope." Which is correct?)

>>>Well, since the definition of antipope is a false claimant to
the papacy, that would seem to make these men antipopes.

4. "We can't decide these issues as laymen," the moderates say.
"The Church at a future date will decide it in a council. A
future pope will decide it..."

Ok, legally it is so. However, with Cum ex Apostolatus, it
appears priests and we lay folks CAN make the judgement.

>>>Absolutely. Where have the "moderates" ever proved THEIR
position? It's just going with the flow, not a Christian virtue.
One's faith has to be very flexible to go with the Wojtylian
flow. Anyway, the law has ALREADY judged. It states clearly
that no declaration is required for the office to be vacant.
"Moderates", conservatives, and conciliarists ignore this legal
fact. So who is respecting the law of the Church? It seems to me
that WE are.

So is it the "legalists" who promote the second paragraph above?
But "we in the pew" rely on such documents as Cum ex Apostolatus
to guide us? It seems devisive.

>>>Christ said scandals must come. Without a Pope, this is
inevitable. But a Pope must and will be given to the Church,
and, as I believe along with our distinguished moderator, in the
not very distant future. Otherwise the end is upon us.


James Larrabee (

Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:05 am
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New post Contra "Cassiciacum Thesis"
From: jmcnally <>
To: <>
Subject: #1557 Jim L. on Necessary Declaratory Judgement of Heretical Pope
Date: Monday, December 01, 1997 6:41 PM

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: Monday, December 01, 1997 5:38 PM
Subject: Re: #1523 Necessary Declaratory Judgement of Pope turned He

X wrote:

>Your problem, John Lane, seems to be confusing his dignity and authority
>with his possession of the Apostolic See. It is as the difference between
>possession and ownership. It is like the difference between "jus in re"
>and "jus ad rem". A Pope going into heresy in a sense loses ownership but
>retains possession of the Apostolic See.

This is only possible if the thing is distinct from the right to it, as
with a house or a car or a diamond ring. In the case of an office, like the
papacy, its essence consists in possession of a right, namely the right to
rule. It is not a physical object. To possess it is to possess a right.
There is nothing else to possess. The right exists when canonical
designation has been made and accepted by one capable of holding the
office. When the right has been lost, the office is lost.

In either case, there is no change in any physical or tangible state of
things, but only in a moral one--the fact that the acts of a given man are
binding in conscience and in the public forum on others. I.e., it is wrong,
and punishable, if they disobey them. (The reality is purely of the mental
order, an ens rationis-- a "being of reason".) An office, therefore,
bestows no physical or spiritual powers on anyone, apart from this purely
moral relation to his subjects. In this, it is wholly unlike the
sacramental powers of orders. As St. Thomas says, jurisdiction "does not
inhere immovably," unlike the latter. It can be and is lost by heresy, as
St. Thomas states, as well as by other causes.

> The See itself is NOT the dignity and authority which he has already
>lost. One can lose ownership of a thing and still retain possession.

>St. Francis clearly says that he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out
>of the Church, and the Church must deprive him, NOT deprive him of his
>dignity which he already lost, but deprive him of the Apostolic See. The
>"deprive" has nothing to do with what he already lost ipso facto. It is to
>the "Apostolic See" which is referred to in regard to the depriving.

The word "dignity" in this context is simply another name for a public
office, a perfectly common usage. Thus "dignity" and "papacy" here are
equivalent. There is no implication in the text that there is any

>When St. Francis says, "the Church must deprive him, or as some say,
>declare him deprived of the Apostolic See", it is effectively the same

I do not see any basis for this in the text. I have already proved this. It
seems to me, as I have said, that St. Francis is merely mentioning two
different theological approaches to this question (essentially, Cajetan's
and Bellarmine's), without going into them. If there is any contradiction
or inconsistency implicit, that is because Cajetan's position is
contradictory (in maintaining that the pope loses his papacy ipso facto by
public heresy, yet still must be deprived by a judgment). St. Francis is
just quoting.

>St. Francis is much too exacting and meticulous in his book to present a
>distinction WITHOUT explanation;

He had no need of explaining a matter which he mentions merely in passing,
forestall a possible objection which might be raised by Protestant
polemicists to the Roman primacy, namely that Catholic theologians admit the
possibility of a heretical pope. He was writing a pamphlet, not a treatise.
It seems natural that his concern for accuracy led him to mention two
well-known positions of the leading theologians.

Once again, I emphasize, it is the treatises which must be consulted to find
the Church's teaching on difficult and obscure points, not pamphlets,
holy and learned their authors (not that I see anything whatsoever to object
to in St. Francis's remarks under discussion, or his work as a whole).

> when he says "or as some say" he is merely saying, "or as some describe

He means what the words mean. "Some said it," namely Bellarmine and others.
So your development of this in support of your thesis has no basis in his
text. At any rate, to write "as some say" in place of "as some describe it"
would seem indicative of something other than exactitude and meticulousness.
Besides, as John Lane has said, the original ought to be referred to if such
close scrutiny of the text is to be given any weight.


>When the Church gives an annulment, it is quite frequently referred to as
>"the Church annulled the marriage" because the declaration officially
>establishes that it was null from the beginning. It is effectively the
>same thing in this circumstance, and it can be said, "the Church must
>annul, or as some say, declare it null".

I've never seen anyone write this way, and it is hard to imagine why anyone
would wish to do so, precisely because the words imply a difference of
opinion, not simply of expression. In fact, everyone (to speak generally)
says both "annul" and "declare it null" at different times; or perhaps if
accuracy is essential, he would confine himself to "declare null," as I
think would be typical of canonical writers. So to use "as some say" in
regard to what is a perfectly common expression, equivalent to another,
seems straining an imagined analogy to bear a weight it is not capable of

James Larrabee


Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:07 am
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New post 
From: jmcnally <>
To: <>
Subject: #1559 Jim L. to X on Rama C. on the Cassiciacum Thesis
Date: Monday, December 01, 1997 7:55 PM

[Moderator's comment: These titles are getting complicated!]

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: Monday, December 01, 1997 7:31 PM
Subject: Re: #1529 X on Rama C. on the Cassiciacum Thesis

______________________________ Reply Separator
Subject: #1529 X on Rama C. on the Cassiciacum Thesis
Author: "jmcnally" <> at Boalt
Date: 11/28/97 12:50 PM

-----Original Message-----
From: X
To: jmcnally <>
Date: Friday, November 28, 1997 11:15 AM
Subject: Re: #1527 Rama C. on the Cassiciacum Thesis


Philosophy makes the distinction between a "human act" and an "act of a
human". And, St. Thomas makes the distinction that within man's nature he
has the lesser natures both animal and vegetal, because he is a higher form
of life comprised of the lesser. Those acts which stem from man's spiritual
faculties of his intellect and will are properly "human acts". Those acts
which are performed apart from this are merely "acts of a human" and
considered part of his animal nature. If a man acted with the brain of an
infant, or insane, or mentally defective, his actions would be considered
like an animal - mere acts of a human.

>>>The distinction is made for moral purposes. It is based on the fact that
some acts of a man are not done consciously and deliberately, but merely
physically, such as digestion, beating of the heart, falling down the
stairs. They have no moral significance. The distinction arises from man's
mixed nature, spiritual and physical.

A Bishop of Rome has functions likewise that are strictly speaking "papal
functions". But his office also has functions common among other simpler
authorities that are not really strictly considered "papal function" as
even an Abbot, Rector of a seminary, Prior or superior of an Order would

>>>Here the analogy is not parallel. All the acts of a pope, if they are
acts of government, are human acts, that is, conscious and voluntary. To
distinguish them on the basis you are using here is an entirely different

The higher contains that of the lesser.

>>>Yes, but the higher must be there to contain anything.

>>>For instance, a man who is dead can neither perform any human act
(conscious and deliberate) nor any act of a purely physical nature like
those above mentioned.

>>>Also, the higher virtually contains the lower generally, but not in
regard to everything, in every case. When the lower is of a different
nature, it would not necessarily hold. The papacy is constituted by
jurisdiction; the offices of abbot, rector, etc. are constituted by
dominative power. Their authority is over a private institution, not in the
public order, like that of parents, leaving aside certain canonical powers
in the external forum that may be delegated by papal authority to major
superiors of certain orders. Thus, the pope has no direct authority over
anyone in the Church, except in regard to a judgment made in pursuit of
law. By "direct" I mean he has no power to command anyone personally, only
to make laws which apply to all, or to grant indults, etc. He has no power
over the person, property, or activities of any individual so long as that
person is in obedience to the law. (That is why the special vow of personal
obedience to the Pope, in the Jesuit consitutions, has meaning, even in
comparison with other religious.) The same is true of bishops, pastors,
authorities in civil government, and all who exercise jurisdiction as
opposed to dominative power.

>>>Thus it does not appear to be true that the pope possesses the powers of
abbots, rectors, etc., nor does it appear that popes have actually
exercised such powers, unless I am mistaken. On the other hand, powers of
this nature do not seem relevant to a discussion of the Guerardist thesis

A man who is Pope materially could only possibly have retained the
functions that are lesser.

>>>Until the possibility of this is proved, it is begging the question.

Because of heresy even his actions that are strictly speaking "papal
functions" are NOT even materially valid. That which is strictly
incompatible and mutually exclusive with heresy could not exist. But that
which is not strictly incompatible with the existence of heresy could.
Nothing illogical.

>>>Fact is not merely a matter of logic, of course. Even if this is
possible (in the abstract), dato non concesso, it remains to proved as
actually existing. Your proofs will be considered when they are presented.

Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:10 am
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New post Contra Fr. Sanborn on canon 2197
From: jmcnally <>
To: <>
Subject: #1339 Jim L. on Canons 188, 2197 & the Cassiciacum Thesis
Date: Friday, October 24, 1997 9:13 AM

As Fr. Sanborn refers to canon 2197, here is the text (my

"A crime [delictum] is:

"1. *Public*, if it has already been divulged, or takes place or is
involved in such circumstances that it can and must prudently be
judged that it will easily be divulged;

"2. *Notorious by a notoriety of law*, after sentence of a competent
judge which has passed to *res judicata* [i.e. a final judgment], or
after a confession by the delinquent made before the court in
accordance with can. 1750;

"3. *Notorious by a notoriety of fact*, if it is publicly known, and
has been committed under such circumstances that it cannot be
concealed by any evasion [tergiversatione] or excused by any favorable
provision of law [iuris suffragio].

"4. *Occult*, that which is not public; *materially occult*, if the
crime itself is concealed; *formally occult*, if its imputability is

In regard to canon 188:4, it may be argued that the provisions of the
above canon do not apply, since it is not dealing with a crime as
such, or with its penalties, but merely with an act--namely, publicly
defecting from the Faith. It does not seem to be an issue in this
canon whether or not the act is imputable; at any rate, it is not so
stated in the canon. The other sections of the same canon mention
various acts, not all of which are crimes, and in any case, no
particular mention is made of a requirement that a legal determination
must be made whether the acts were freely performed, in full
cognizance of all their consequences. These actions include joining
the army, professing solemn vows of religion, attempting marriage, or
transferring to another, incompatible office. Would the imputability
of an attempt at marriage be required? Or is it not a question,
evidently, of open actions, openly recognizable, "without any
declaration being required," as the canon clearly states? Fr. Sanborn
mentions an instance of a priest misspeaking himself in a sermon, but
who would claim that this, IN ITSELF, constituted a defection from the
Faith? It is merely a mistake, easily verifiable. On the other hand,
if a bishop were to announce that he had left the Church to become a
Buddhist, would anyone doubt that this canon would be effective? The
wording of the canon seems to have precisely such an act in view.
Would Fr. Sanborn claim that, in this case, over and beyond the act
itself, more would be required? If so, the plain wording of the canon
would seem to be worse than useless--downright misleading, in fact.

However, assuming this argument is invalid, and granting that an act
under canon 188:4 must be imputable if it is to constitute a defection
from the Faith, let us consider Fr. Sanborn's argument (see ">>>")


An excerpt from Fr. Sanborn's defense of the Cassiciacum Thesis, "De
Papatu Materiali" (p. 62-67) -

Objections Against the Second Part of the Thesis

VI. Canon 188 (4) says that he who publicly should defect from the Faith
tacitly renounces his office. But the conciliar "popes" have publicly
defected from the Catholic Faith. Therefore they have renounced their
office tacitly. Therefore they are not popes either formally or

*Resp.*: I distinguish the major: Canon 188 (4) says that he who should
publicly defect from the Catholic Faith tacitly renounces his office, if
his imputability is public, *I concede*; however if it is occult, *I

>>>No such distinction is stated or implied in the law, therefore to
argue this is to argue that the law is in error. It is a serious error
to state as simply true what is only true with qualifications. Fr.
Sanborn's argument amounts to saying that the law has committed this

The reason is that defection from the Faith must be legally known,

>>>This is a gratuitous statement. Until proved it must fall, and the
rest of the argument with it, since the rest depends on this. Besides,
according to the above definition (2197:1), to be public in law, it is
not even required that the action be actually known, much less that it
be public in the everyday sense. Besides, Fr. Sanborn does not define
"legally known." Presumably this must mean something beyond merely
"known". Since this is not defined, the argument remains unclear.
Besides, I would argue that this is begging the question, if by "legally
known," a procedural requirement is to be introduced into the mental
transition from a known or knowable fact (known in the plain or factual
sense) to the conclusion that the office has been resigned by tacit
resignation. This is what the whole argument is about.

which happens either by declaration or by notoriety. But the notoriety
requires that not only the fact of the crime be publicly known, but also
its imputability (Canon 2197).

>>>But this argument is inconsistent with the plain wording of 188:4. As
can be seen from the above definitions, the term "public" is far less
restrictive than the term "notorious". If canon 188:4 MEANT "notorious
defection from the Faith," it would have said so. Instead, it says
"PUBLIC defection from the Faith." Besides, we argue that the defection
of Wojtyla and others IS notorious. It is unconcealable (obviously,
since they have not even tried to conceal it, and have trumpeted it to
the world), and it is inexcusable by any color of law. Note further
that in canon 2197, only in no. 2 (notoriety of law) is there any
consideration of legal process. Since no legal procedure is stated or
implied in regard to any of the other categories (public, notorious by a
notoriety of fact, or occult), it is contradictory to attempt to
introduce procedural considerations into them. Law and fact are opposed
and mutually exclusive categories. Another way of putting this is to
say that this argument reduces notoriety of fact to notoriety of law.

In the case, however, of defection from the Catholic Faith, either
through heresy or through schism, it is necessary that the defection be
pertinacious in order that it be imputable. Otherwise the law becomes
absurd: every priest who through lack of advertence in a sermon
pronouces a heresy would be guilty of notorious heresy, with all of the
connected penalties, and tacitly would renounce his office.

>>>It is evident to a normally prudent man that this act alone does not
constitute defection from the Faith, since the formal element, or
imputability (in this case, the rejection of the Church's teaching
authority), can easily be judged to be absent, or at least doubtful,
until more certain evidence can be obtained. This does not require a
legal process. It is a simple moral judgment. Otherwise, Fr. Sanborn
will have to maintain that, apart from formally condemned heretics,
excommunicated by name by the Holy See and declared vitandi, no Catholic
has any way of carrying out the divine injunction, "A heretic after one
or two warnings avoid." In fact, the injunction is impossible under any
circumstances, since the warnings mentioned are personal ones, not
legal, official ones.

But defection from the Catholic Faith on the part of conciliar "popes,"

>>>It is a very long jump from a priest misspeaking himself in a sermon
to the conciliar "hierarchy." Without some proportion, the argument
becomes implausible.

although it be public with regard to fact, is not public with regard to
imputability, and therefore there is no tacit renunciation. What is
public is the intention of these "popes" to promulgate errors condemned
by the ecclesiastical magisterium, and a sacramental practice which is
heretical and blasphemous. Because this is so, one must conclude they
necessarily do not possess apostolic authority, but one cannot conclude
more or less.

>>>Why cannot one conclude, with moral certainty, that if they wish to
teach contrary to the Magisterium of the Church, they evidently do not
believe it? If they cannot be judged to have defected from the Faith,
who could? (Leaving aside the perhaps more obvious case of a man who
actually leaves the Church in the full, open sense. Of course, it is
perfectly known that heretics in ecclesiastical positions are unlikely
to wish to do this, for any number of reasons which appear good to
themselves, particularly the perfect opportunity open to them of
destroying the Church from "within".)

Not more, because competent authority alone is able to ascertain and
declare legally the reality of their defection from the Catholic Faith,

>>>This is simply to restate what is at issue. If this is intended to be
an argument, it is an open petitio principii.

and not less, because it is impossible that apostolic authority, because
of the infallibility and indefectibility of the Church, promulgate
errors which have been condemned by the ecclesiastical magisterium, and
a sacramental practice which is heretical and blasphemous.

*Instance*: But Canon 188 says that the renunciation does not require a

*Resp.*: Does not require a declaration of the vacancy of the office, if
the imputable defection is notorious or declared by law, *I concede*; if
the defection is not notoriously imputable, or declared, *I deny*. In
other words, it is necessary that public defection from the Catholic
Faith have a certain legal recognition, either by notoriety of the
imputability or by legal declaration.

>>>This is the same argument given above, with the words "legal
recognition" substituted for "legally known." It is repeating a
gratuitous assertion. If a legal recognition is required (which I do not
concede), this is provided by the notoriety of fact existing here. The
notoriety of the imputability is as recognizable from the facts of the
case as is the notoriety of the deed itself. We are considering not mere
bare actions in themselves, but human acts of given persons in given
circumstances, which add up to a moral certainty that these men are
heretics who have openly defected from the Faith. That is all that is
involved in a notoriety of fact, as stated in the law.

*Instance*: But the imputability of the defection of these "popes" is

>>>This of course is a briefer statement of my previous objection.

*Resp.*: *I deny*. In order that imputability be notorious, it is
necessary that either (1) he who has pronounced the heresy publicly
confess that he professes a doctrine which is against the magisterium of
the Church, such as Luther; (2) when he has been warned by the authority
of the Church, and the warning having been made, he publicly reject the

>>>Where is the proof for this assertion? Canon 2197 gives no basis for
this argument, and unless it is proved, this argument must fall.
According to this argument, no one is a heretic unless he has been
formally warned, or admits that his teaching is contrary to the
Magisterium. Where is this stated in the law? It would mean, once
again, that the warnings against heresy directed to all the faithful by
Sacred Scripture and all the moralists are vain, except in regard to an
extremely minute number of people. Logically, I don't need to disprove
this assertion, but it seems to me that this argument necessarily leads
to the conclusion that the unity of the Church is no longer visible but
comes down to purely subjective, internal factors. It seems to fly in
the face of the teaching of the consensus of theologians on the nature
of heresy and its consequences. It reduces heresy to merely another
crime, rather than an act which of itself separates one VISIBLY AND
OPENLY from the Church, a teaching firmly based in Scripture and the
Fathers. It also has serious implications for the knowability of the
Faith, as though one would have to be a theologian or canonist in order
to recognize a heretic. Likewise, one would have to be lawyer, even a
judge, to recognize a murderer, a thief, etc.

>>>Furthermore, at this point, let us refer back to 188:4, and consider
once again how, if the present argument were valid, the legislators of
the Church could ever have written that public defection from the Faith
led to loss of office, WITHOUT ANY DECLARATION, and by a tacit
resignation ADMITTED BY THE LAW ITSELF? This argument seems to set the
law against the law.

But neither one nor the other of these conditions are fulfilled in the
conciliar "popes." Therefore the imputability of the defection is not
*Instance*: But Canon 2200 presumes the imputability if the fact of the
crime has been proved.

*Resp.*: *I distinguish.* It presumes imputability given the external
violation of the law, *I concede*; it presumes imputability when the law
has not been externally violated, *I deny.*

>>>The law is not invoked at all unless there is an external violation.
The meaning of this canon is that one who commits a criminal act is
presumed to be responsible until the contrary is proved; but let this
pass. As has been argued, pertinacity is recognizable by outward
actions just as the denial of the doctrines of the Church is
recognizable. The whole basis of the "Sedevacantist" argument is that
the actions and omissions of conciliar "popes" and bishops are
recognizable as heresy, that is, as pertinacious denials, or arising
from the pertinacious denial, of the Faith. This is a conclusion that a
reasonable man can and must arrive at, with a moral certainty, on the
basis of known facts. It should be kept in mind that "pertinacious" does
not imply that a given time must pass; merely that the denial is
maintained in the face of evident proof that the Church teaches
otherwise. Perhaps one could ask Fr. Sanborn: Have Montini and Wojtyla
merely been misspeaking themselves over and over again for the past 34
years, and were/are they too deaf and illiterate to see or hear the
admonitions of Catholics?

>>>As a final point, the word "imputability" might be fleshed out a bit
more. Canon 2199 says that imputability is involved not only in a
deliberate, malicious violation of the law, but also where there is
culpable ignorance or even a failure of due diligence. So, if by any
means one could claim that Wojtyla isn't consciously opposing himself to
the teaching of the Church, it would seem supremely difficult to deny
that he has not plainly shown a culpable ignorance, and still more a
total failure to take any means to determine the truth of the Church's
teachings. Thus imutability is notorious (by notoriety of fact) even on
this basis.

In the case of defection from the Catholic Faith, the violation of the
law *involves pertinacity,* and if it should be absent, the law is not
violated. Where, therefore, pertinacity is neither notorious nor
declared by law, Canon 2200 is not able to be applied.

>>>Pertinacity is a matter of fact, to be proved as such. It is not a
matter of law any more than the act of denying (explicitly or
implicitly) the teaching of the Church. As it is an internal matter per
se, it must and can be proved by external actions. For more on
pertinacity, cf. above.

<snip of what appears not to be part of Fr. Sanborn's argument>

Respectfully submitted,

James Larrabee (


Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:11 am
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From: jmcnally <>
To: <>
Subject: #1287 More on the Cassiciacum Thesis
Date: Friday, October 17, 1997 4:02 PM

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Larrabee <>
Date: Friday, October 17, 1997 1:25 PM
Subject: Re: #1273 More on the Cassiciacum Thesis

Thanks for posting this. I can't find my copy of Lucien's work so I
will have to get another before going into his arguments in more

See comments.

JLarrabee (


______________________________ Reply Separator
Subject: #1273 More on the Cassiciacum Thesis
Author: "jmcnally" <> at Boalt
Date: 10/17/97 9:38 AM

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: jmcnally <>
Date: Wednesday, October 15, 1997 9:17 PM
Subject: Re: #1271 Jim Larrabee on the 1958 Conclave/ Cassiciacum Thesis


I don't have time to respond appropriately, but here's Fr. Lucien's (and
Bishop des Lauriers') response to your assertion that the Bull of 1559
is still in force because of its foundation in divine law -

>>>As a logical point, it must be kept in mind that for us, it is not
essential to prove that the bull is still in effect (Bellarmine does
not even mention it explicitly). But our opponents must prove that it
is NOT, or their position is clearly defeated. But as has already been
shown, the Abbe Lucien openly admits that the key provisions of the
bull, from our point of view, are indeed included in the Code. So one
is hard put to see any logic in his argument.

(Chapter IX, p.3): "It does not suffice to note, as against this
objection, that the dispositions of the Constitution of Paul IV 'have
their origin in divine law,' and hence are still in force. For it is in
the very nature of positive law to be 'in the line' of natural or divine
law. The positive law carries determinations which are necessary for the
divine or natural law to be concretely applied, even though their precise
nature is not fixed by the latter.

>>>Two comments:

>>>1. Argument from authority: It must be repeated that the chief
argument for the thesis that heretics can hold no jurisdiction in the
Church is from authority. If that argument is decisive, it is useless
to attempt to disprove it by arguments from reason, and smacks of
heresy. To repeat, this argument is a way of "proving" that all the
Popes were wrong; that the Fathers and Doctors of the Church were
wrong; that the consensus of theologians and canonists is wrong; that
canon law is wrong. It seems to me that one who rejects Tradition in
this manner will never be lacking in arguments, and will never be
convinced that his arguments prove nothing. This is like trying to
argue with someone who thinks the whole case for the Traditional Mass
rests on Quo Primum.

>>>Another way of putting this is to say that it violates the basic
principle of reason, Contra factum non valet illatio, loosely
translated as "You can't argue against a fact." The only way to refute
a proof from authority, in matters where authority is decisive (as in
the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church, where the authority is that of
Divine Revelation), is to show that the authorities do not teach what
is claimed, or to bring other authorities of greater weight. In this
argument, authority is a fact. As in a trial, you cannot disprove the
testimony of witnesses by arguing with them (except where their
testimony can be shown to be impossible).

>>>2. Argument from reason: Given that it appears to me, as Bellarmine
clearly implies, that this is a matter of Divine Revelation and
Apostolic Tradition, even if the bull being discussed had never been
issued, the arguments presented may be addressed as a matter of
secondary concern, to clarify the principles involved and to prevent,
if possible, uncertainty being introduced into an area which is
certain. Now, if the above paragraph is examined (the point is not
made very clear), it seems to be saying that we are arguing that the
dispositions of the bull "have their origin in divine law." Then it
goes on to say that it is in the nature of positive law to be "in the
line of" natural or divine positive law. This is true, but
irrelevant. The Divine Law referred to in our argument is that by
which the nature of the Church as a visible institution was
estblished, and the nature of its membership as the congregation of
the faithful (of those who profess the Faith) specified. Once that was
done, it is a matter of FACT that a heretic is not a member of the
Church. The legal provisions of the bull imply this principle. It is
not a question of mere practical implementation in line with divine
law, but a necessary consequence in the order of reality itself.

"In the case of the heretic, as a consequence of the 'divine law,' there
is clearly a *certain radical incompatibility* between the condition of
a heretic and ecclesiastical duties. But how this radical
incompatibility leads up to the ultimate consequences (privation of
office, of jurisdiction; deposition...) is something that the divine law
does not determine, and furthermore, this is something that the Church
has never made explicit to the degree that these determinations
implicitly exist in Revelation.

>>>The argument is continued in this paragraph. The Abbe Lucien uses
the words "certain radical incompatibility" apparently to mean what I
just called a necessary consequence in the order of reality itself.
The incompatibility is between being a heretic (and therefore not a
member of the Church, a point not mentioned here by Lucien) and
holding jurisdiction in the Church. (It is by no means equivalent to
the vague term "ecclesiastical duties." Everyone knows that heretics
can baptize or give sacramental absolution in danger of death;
certainly these are "ecclesiastical duties.") But instead of
addressing the argument, he gives it a pass. To say that the divine
law does not determine how this incompatibility "leads up to the
ultimate consequences" is not to argue but simply to make an
unsupported statement. If this is his argument, it is no more than
begging the question. One also wonders how he can say the Church has
never made the consequences explicit when the Code says that, by
defecting from the Faith, a man loses his office by a tacit
resignation accepted by the law itself, and without any declaration.
One wonders how it could be made any more explicit.

>>> Furthermore, to speak of "leading up to ultimate consequences"
seems to muddy the question as to whether privation of office, etc.
are the inseparable accompaniments of the prime act of heresy, or
merely some result following accidentally and at a later point. But
in our argument, they are merely two aspects of one reality, joined as
definition and predicable accident, impossible to separate. For this
reason, neither "privation" nor "deprivation" are suitable terms,
since they imply a removal resulting from legal action. In fact, just
as heretics leave the Church of themselves, by the very same act they
leave their offices. Can they take the office with them? Is it
removable from the Church? The Code has clarified this point, I think,
by placing this self-deprivation in the category of tacit
resignations, a point that seems to be uniformly missed by critics of
Bellarmine's position.

>>>But this point has already been made and proved by Bellarmine and
others. The burden rests on Lucien to make an argument against their
proofs. He has not done this, so he really has no argument at all.

"And Paul IV does not affirm in the other parts of his Constitution that
these dispositions which he draws from the revealed Deposit cannot be
considered as ecclesiastical laws."

>>> An argument from silence proves nothing. Since when does papal
legislation or the Code make distinctions anyway between matters of
divine institution and matters of "merely" ecclesiastical law? That is
left to theological and canonical treatises, and that is what
Bellarmine has proved, in his.

Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:17 am
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From: jmcnally <>
To: <>
Subject: #1573 Jim L. on the Condemnation of Popes
Date: Tuesday, December 02, 1997 3:39 PM

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: Tuesday, December 02, 1997 12:43 PM
Subject: Re: #1561 Todd D. on Essential aspects of the Pontificate

I'd like to offer an alternative view here. Bishops by their office
have the authority (jurisdiction) to condemn heretics. If a matter is
clear from Tradition (Ordinary Magisterium), or has been defined
(Extraordinary Magisterium), a bishop, or a fortiori a council of
bishops, is competent to act. Papal authority or confirmation is not

Given this, a man like K. Wojtyla who is a manifest heretic can be
judged as such. Pursuant to such judgment, a declaration could be made
by a council if bishops, even though imperfect, that, in light of the
Church's teaching, a manifest heretic cannot be the pope or hold any
other office in the Church. This would justify the council's action in
trying and condemning said heretic. He could then be handed over to be
burnt if the secular authorities were willing (as they are bound to do
if Catholic), assuming he was in their power and he refused to repent.

The idea of a "solemn" judgment in the sense of an ex cathedra
statement is not the concern here. That applies to doctrine, not to
individuals accused of crimes. Also, even papal judgments of cases
involving individuals are not considered to be infallible. As such,
there is no ABSOLUTE obligation on Catholics to accept them as just or
correct. (The same is true of court judgments in the secular order.)
This would apply to any future papal judgment as to, for example, the
legitimacy of the 1958 conclave. But to doubt or deny them without
serious cause would be wrong, it seems to me, because it would involve
presumption and resistance (at least inward) to duly constituted

In these times of almost total anarchy, I think sometimes there is a
tendency to forget about the ordinary authority of the lesser elements
of government, in concentrating on the failure at the top. Bishops are
just as much the lawful government of the Church as the Pope, though
in their own limited, subordinate order.



Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:18 am
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Posts: 728
Location: Western Washington, USA
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Pax Christi !

John, what a journey down memory lane here ! It seems like it was just yesterday we were all posting on the ole sede list !

Many thanks for keeping these posts !

In Xto,

Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:24 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4337
New post 
Vince Sheridan wrote:
John, what a journey down memory lane here !

Ah yes, and please keep the founder of the list, Jim McNally, in your prayers. May he rest in peace. Also, of course, his widow Susan and children.

In Christ our King.

Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:14 am
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